Arthritis & Exercise
Many classifications of arthritis have been identified and one thing remains constant about them all – it can be debilitating. I receive countless inquiries about including exercise, especially resistance training, into an arthritic person’s program. Many people believe they should avoid exercises of any kind if they are afflicted with arthritis. My experience has shown that nothing could be further from the truth. (Please understand, each case is different, and everyone should check with their physician before beginning an exercise program.) Presently, over 65% of my clients suffer from one or more forms of arthritis. Each one of them has seen the incredible benefits made possible by incorporating resistance training into their daily lives. Some of these benefits include: greater strength, increased joint range of motion (greater flexibility), better muscle tone, greater balance, reduction in postural changes, and most important to each of them – reduction of pain.
These are not the only people who have seen the benefits of resistance training, nor am I saying that all people with arthritis will experience all of the incredible benefits mentioned. However, research continues to pile up daily on the positive effects a properly implemented exercise program can have on arthritic conditions. The research is so exciting and the results so positive that the Arthritis Foundation has placed its stamp of approval on resistance training and now recommends it to individuals suffering from arthritis.
There are three things you should do before beginning any exercise program. First, consult with the appropriate health care professionals (i.e. physician, dietician, professional trainer, etc.). Second, determine your goals (weight loss, pain reduction, increased strength, etc.). Third, always exercise at your level – not someone else’s. Too many people get concerned with what other people are doing and then try to perform at their level. I say, “who cares how much someone else does?” Instead, start at a comfortable level and continuously work to improve yourself. Arthritis can be an extremely painful and debilitating condition; however, research is proving that exercise, especially a properly performed resistance training program, can provide some much needed relief from this condition.
If you or someone you know has or believes they may have arthritis and would like more information, you can contact the Arthritis Foundation at 800-283-7800 or visit them on the web at www.arthritis.org. If you have arthritis and are interested in participating in a research study involving resistance training and arthritis, contact Troy Huggett’s Fitness Pros at 269-967-6300.